Stanley & Hazel: The Winnowing: Book 2

Written by Jo Schaffer
Review by Arleigh Ordoyne

In 1934 St. Louis there is a stark divide among the class structure. Hazel Malloy, a privileged 16-year-old, and Stanley Fields, an orphaned “newsie,” set out to investigate the clues left behind in a book written by a murdered girl from the previous book (the series debut). As more people from Stanley’s side of town go missing, Hazel begins to suspect certain colleagues from her charity work at a newly established medical clinic. Meanwhile Stanley’s network of spies, along with a Catholic priest and Stanley’s police detective uncle, race the clock to find the culprits. On the streets and back alleys lurks an evil movement startlingly similar to the great shadow looming over 1930s Europe.

Jumping into this book—having not read the first, Stanley & Hazel—wasn’t difficult as the story was recapped sufficiently. The Depression-era street jargon isn’t the easiest to follow, but it lends substance to the gulf between the silently warring factions. It is clear by the tremendous build-up among the last few pages of the book that there is more to come with this series. Readers are left on edge and wondering how the feisty protagonists will fare in the next installment. This is a fast-paced and exciting murder mystery for teens with a Dick Tracy feel. Recommended for ages 12 & up.